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Kocman D.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Horvat M.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Pirrone N.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Cinnirella S.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Environmental Research | Year: 2013

Global mercury emission inventories include anthropogenic emissions, contributing via current use or presence of mercury in a variety of products and processes, as well as natural source emissions. These inventories neglect the contribution of areas contaminated with mercury from historical accumulation, which surround mines or production plants associated with mercury production or use. Although recent studies have shown that releases of mercury from these historical sites can be significant, a database of the global distribution of mercury contaminated sites does not exist, nor are there means of scaling up such releases to estimate fluxes on a regional and global basis. Therefore, here we estimated for the first time the contribution of mercury releases from contaminated sites to the global mercury budget. A geo-referenced database was built, comprising over 3000 mercury contaminated sites associated with mercury mining, precious metal processing, non-ferrous metal production and various polluted industrial sites. In the assessment, mercury releases from these sites to both the atmosphere as well as the hydrosphere were considered based on data available for selected case studies, their number, the reported extent of contamination and geographical location. Annual average global emissions of mercury from identified contaminated sites amount to 198 (137-260) Mgyr-1. Of that, 82 (70-95)Mgyr-1 contribute to atmospheric releases, while 116 (67-165) Mgyr-1 is estimated to be transported away from these sites by hydrological processes. Although these estimates are associated with large uncertainties, our current understanding of mercury releases from contaminated sites indicates that these releases can also be of paramount importance on the global perspective. This is especially important as it is known that these sites represent a long-term source of releases if not managed properly. Therefore, the information presented here is needed by governments and NGO's in order to re-focus resources in making decisions regarding mitigation and remediation strategies on a global level. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Modugno G.,University of Turin
Atmospheric Science Letters | Year: 2013

At the regional scale, enhanced climatic variability masks the role of external forcings. It has been shown that a consistent attribution of regional temperature behaviour can be achieved just by considering circulation patterns as driving elements. Here we address this question: is the role of external forcings completely hidden in the changes of circulation patterns (eventually induced by them), or is there evidence of a more direct role for these forcings? Performing a fully nonlinear analysis shows that a direct role for anthropogenic forcings can be detected also at this regional scale, while natural forcings do not seem to influence temperature behaviour. © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society.

Piccarreta M.,University of Bari | Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Capolongo D.,University of Bari | Lazzari M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2013

Changes in precipitation extremes for the Basilicata region, southern Italy, have been analyzed using data from 55 precipitation stations with complete daily time series during the period 1951-2010. All the series were submitted to quality control assessment and homogenization. To detect possible trends the time series analysis was performed with the Mann-Kendall non-parametric test. The annual and seasonal total precipitation underwent a general downward trend over the period 1951-2010 mainly due to the autumn-winter decrease of precipitation, although the tendency for the last decade is clearly positive. The precipitation intensity shows a general positive trend, mainly due to the upward trend of spring. The dry spell mean has increased throughout the region over 1951-2010, even if a really important opposite trend characterizes the last decade. The wet spell mean has decreased throughout the region from 1951 to 2010, although a strong inversion of tendency has been recorded in the last 10years. Trends in the extreme daily precipitation have indicated a general downward tendency, mainly during the summer season. The analysis of multi-day sequences of moderate to heavy rainfall has indicated a corresponding increase in their frequency and intensity, especially in the last decade. The overall results indicate a present hydroclimatic regime characterized by an increase in total rainfall and precipitation intensity and a small decrease in dry spell lengths. The positive change in precipitation magnitude is due to multi-day extreme precipitation rather than to single-day precipitation. This last observation is very important for its huge hydrological impact on the environment. In Basilicata, the increase in intensity/frequency of multi-days extreme events has led to the growth of severe flooding and landsliding events, not only in autumn and winter, but even in the early spring. © 2013 Royal Meteorological Society.

Whitmarsh D.,University of Portsmouth | Palmieri M.G.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Aquaculture Research | Year: 2011

The growth of aquaculture has been accompanied by controversy over the sustainability of many of the practices used in fish farming. Public attitudes towards aquaculture are unlikely to have been untouched by this, and there seems little doubt that the social acceptability of the industry is shaped by people's perception of its environmental record. What is less clear, however, is how far such perceptions influence consumer behaviour. This paper reports on a survey of public attitudes towards salmon farming in Scotland, which inter alia collected data on the frequency of salmon purchases. The results show that purchasing is influenced by both context and attribute variables, including environmental preferences. Specifically, it was found that increased concern over the environmental performance of the salmon farming industry is associated with a lower propensity to purchase salmon. The findings pose a number of challenges for the aquaculture industry, not least in the area of marketing. © 2010 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Journal of Thoracic Disease | Year: 2015

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are usually considered as tools which can help to analyze cause-effect relationships in complex systems within a big-data framework. On the other hand, health sciences undergo complexity more than any other scientific discipline, and in this field large datasets are seldom available. In this situation, I show how a particular neural network tool, which is able to handle small datasets of experimental or observational data, can help in identifying the main causal factors leading to changes in some variable which summarizes the behaviour of a complex system, for instance the onset of a disease. A detailed description of the neural network tool is given and its application to a specific case study is shown. Recommendations for a correct use of this tool are also supplied. © Journal of Thoracic Disease.

Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Triacca U.,University of L'Aquila | Attanasio A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2012

The Sun has surely been a major external forcing to the climate system throughout the Holocene. Nevertheless, opposite trends in solar radiation and temperatures have been empirically identified in the last few decades. Here, by means of an inferential method - the Granger causality analysis - we analyze this situation and, for the first time, show that an evident causal decoupling between total solar irradiance and global temperature has appeared since the 1960s. © 2012 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Sprovieri F.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Pirrone N.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Ebinghaus R.,Helmholtz Center Geesthacht | Kock H.,Helmholtz Center Geesthacht | Dommergue A.,CNRS Laboratory for Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2010

A large number of activities have been carried out to characterise the levels of mercury (Hg) species in ambient air and precipitation, in order to understand how they vary over time and how they depend on meteorological conditions. Following the discovery of atmospheric Hg depletion events (AMDEs) in Polar Regions, a significant research effort was made to assess the chemical-physical mechanisms behind the rapid conversion of atmospheric gaseous Hg (Hg) into reactive and water-soluble forms which are potentially bioavailable. The understanding of the way in which Hg is released into the atmosphere, transformed, deposited and eventually incorporated into biota is of crucial importance not only for the polar regions but also for the marine environment in general. The oceans and seas are both sources and sinks of Hg and play a major role in the Hg cycle. In this work, the available Hg concentration datasets from a number of terrestrial sites (industrial, rural and remote) in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres as well as over oceans and seas have been investigated. The higher Hg species concentration and variability observed in the Northern Hemisphere suggest that the majority of emissions and re-emissions occur there. The inter-hemispherical gradient with higher total gaseous mercury (TGM) concentrations in the Northern Hemisphere has remained nearly constant over the years for which data are available. The analysis of Hg concentration patterns indicates the differences in regional source/sink characteristics, with increasing variability toward areas strongly influenced by anthropogenic sources. The large increase in Hg emissions in rapidly developing countries (i.e., China, India) over the last decade, due primarily to a sharp increase in energy production from coal combustion, are not currently reflected in the long-term measurements of TGM in ambient air and precipitation at continuous monitoring sites in either Northern Europe or North America. The discrepancy between observed gaseous Hg concentrations (steady or decreasing) and global Hg emission inventories (increasing) has not yet been explained, though the potential oxidation of the atmosphere during the last decade is increasing. Currently, however, a coordinated observational network for Hg does not exist. © 2010 Author(s).

Piccarreta M.,dellUniversita e della Ricerca | Lazzari M.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Pasini A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2015

Changes in annual and seasonal temperatures were studied from 18 stations, distributed all over the Basilicata region (southern Italy), for the 1951-2010 period. The analysis is based on high-quality and homogenous daily minimum and maximum temperatures. Both minimum (Tmin) and maximum (Tmax) temperatures increase, especially after 1971. Seasonal results show upward trends in Tmin in winter, spring and summer, whereas they show downward trends in Tmin in autumn, especially in the last normal 1981-2010. Tmax also shows upward trends in spring and summer, whereas it tends to decrease during winter and autumn. The intra-annual extreme temperature range (ETR) index also shows a general positive trend, especially during spring. Eleven indices were used to assess the changes in both the cold and warm tails of the daily temperature distribution. The presence of trends was assessed by means of the Mann-Kendall test. The results reveal a general upward tendency on warm days (TX90), warm nights (TN90) and tropical nights (T20) especially because of an increase in temperature after 1971. This datum is fully confirmed in summer which is the season mainly responsible for this trend. The annual occurrence of summer days (SU) and very warm days (TX99) is weakly increasing. The majority of cold extremes, i.e. very cold nights (TN1), cold days (TX10), cold nights (TN10), frost days (FD) and ice days (ID) showed negative trends, thus confirming the overall warming trend in the Basilicata region. This negative trend could stem from the strong increase of Tmin during winter, spring and summer. © 2015 Royal Meteorological Society.

Balducci C.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Cecinato A.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2010

Mono- and dicarboxylic n-alkyl acids were extensively investigated in downtown Rome, Italy, and in Montelibretti, ∼30 km NE of the city, during 2005-2007. Congeners ranging from lauric to mellisic, and from succinic to α,ω-docosanedioic acids were evaluated as well as phthalic, palmitoleic and oleic acids, by solvent extraction of airborne particulates followed by derivatization with propanol in the presence of boron trifluoride, and gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric analysis. Shorter measurements were made in Milan, in Taranto, at suburban and rural sites of Italy, and in the polar regions, from 1996 to 2005. The predominance of palmitic and stearic acids observed elsewhere was confirmed, and the behaviour of azelaic and phthalic acids resulted strongly dependent upon the year season. In the urban sites, among the long-chain compounds, the lignoceric acid was usually the most abundant, while the cerotic, montanic and mellisic homologues cumulatively never exceeded 8% of the total. Unlike other contaminants, the concentrations of organic acids remained fairly invariant over the last decade, suggesting that more attention must be paid to them in the future. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sprovieri F.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Hedgecock I.M.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research | Pirrone N.,CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics | Year: 2010

Atmospheric mercury species concentrations were measured during two oceanographic cruise campaigns covering the Adriatic Sea, the first during the autumn in 2004 and the second in the summer of 2005. The inclement weather during the autumn campaign meant that no clear in-situ production of oxidised gas phase mercury was seen. Events where high values of HgII (g) and/or Hg associated with particulates (HgP) were observed, could be linked to probable anthropogenic emission source areas. During the summer campaign however, the by now rather familiar diurnal variation of HgII (g) concentration, with maxima around midday, was observed. Again there were events when high HgII (g) and particulates (HgP) concentrations were seen which did not fit with the pattern of daily in-situ HgII (g) production. These events were traceable, with the help of back trajectory calculations, to areas of anthropogenic emissions. The back trajectories for all the events during which high Hg species concentrations were encountered showed that the airmass being sampled had passed near port areas in the previous 24 h. Not all these ports are associated with major industrial installations, it is possible therefore (bearing in mind the uncertainty associated with the back trajectory calculations) that either shipping or port activities are a Hg source. Box modelling studies of the summer 2005 campaign show that although the in-situ production of HgII (g) occurs in the MBL, the exact chemical mechanism responsible is difficult to determine. However given the high O3 concentrations encountered during this campaign it seems clear that if Hg does react with O3, it does not produce gas phase Hg II. Equally, the reaction between Hg and OH if it occurs, does not contribute appreciably to HgII (g) production. © 2010 Author(s).

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